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Posted at 8:15 AM ET, 01/26/2011

Buzz: Snow, the library hawk, and slots

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. A winter storm watch has been issued for much of the D.C.-area beginning at 7 a.m. and extending through early Thursday morning. We're already getting reports from Twitter followers around the D.C. area. @tennisjunkie2 said that as of 5 a.m. there were about 2 inches of snow on the ground in Columbia -- but not a snow plow in sight. Keep those reports coming. Also, here's a list of school closures and delays. 

Happy now? For snow lovers and for those complaining that D.C. had yet to see a real storm, today is shaping up to be your day. (You're welcome, Tamika.) Looks like we'll start the morning with a dose of wintry mix. The Capital Weather Gang says the snow will become more intense as the day goes on with the heaviest snowfall arriving just in time for the evening commute. While initial forecasts had called for up to 5 inches of snow, revised forecasts are now predicting some areas could see as many as 8 inches.

Help is here. To help you manage the storm, Dr. Gridlock offers his snow guide to roads and transit, including where to call if you spot problems or have questions about road closures.

Get us on mobile. No matter where you are today, you can get the latest snow (and other) news on m.washingtonpost.com. And follow us on Twitter @PostLocal.

Coming up:

Guilty plea expected in D.C. principal case. The last of four people charged in the killing of popular D.C. principal Brian Betts is scheduled to plead guilty to lesser charges today, according to Montgomery County Circuit Court records, bringing prosecution of the case to a close. Deontra Q. Gray is set to plead guilty to robbery and a weapons charge, according to a plea agreement reached between both sides in the case. Gray's trial had been set to begin Jan. 31.

Hawk rescue. We're at the Library of Congress this morning, where wildlife experts are attempting to free the hawk that took up residence in the LOC's Main Reading Room last week. Jefferson -- as she's been dubbed -- has proved to be a most difficult target. We'll keep you up-to-date on the latest efforts to return Jefferson to the wild.

Is it lunchtime yet? The Post's food critic, Tom Sietsema, will be online today at 11 a.m. to chat with readers about D.C.'s restaurant scene. Complaints? Questions? Send 'em along. Also at lunchtime: Check our food blogger and writer Tim Carman's Lunch Room Chatter.


Today's headlines:

Unemployment rate dips in D.C. The unemployment rate dipped slightly in D.C., but remained steady in Maryland and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released on Tuesday. The District's jobless level dropped to 9.7 percent in December; Maryland's rate remained at 7.4 percent; Virginia's at 6.7 percent.

Virginia looks at protective orders. The Virginia General Assembly is considering a dramatic rewrite of the state's protective-order laws to make it easier for people who are dating to get court orders requiring their abusive partners to stay away -- an issue that has taken on new resonance since the death of University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love last year.

You gotta know when to hold 'em. First slots, now Vegas-style table games in Maryland? Maryland voters could have their say on the issue as early as next year. A bill proposed in the state legislature would allow Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland's three slots casinos and would include a new location in Prince George's County. It's all part of an effort to make Maryland more competitive with surrounding states such as Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia -- all of which recently opened the doors to table games.

In short. The historic urns that originally were part of Arlington National Cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater will not be sold at auction (Post); a Hyattsville fire in which one girl was killed has now taken the life of her 13-year-old sister (Post); seven midshipmen have been expelled from the U.S. Naval Academy for using "spice" (The Baltimore Sun).

Other items:

The race is on. For all you movie buffs, here's your complete list of 2011 Oscar nominees PLUS commentary, PLUS photo gallery. How's that for a nice little package?

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and be careful on your commute in. Stay with Post Local for headlines and updates throughout the day. With more snow expected this afternoon, you're going to want to know the latest on road conditions, closures, power outages and more. Stay warm and have a great day.

By Lori Aratani  | January 26, 2011; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  am buzz  
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